(from the forthcoming book “Dove Notes”)
While talking to my wife one evening, I was explaining to her just how deeply the issue of self-worth can affect a man, and how it will eventually penetrate every aspect of his life. A man who holds a low opinion of his own value will often have corresponding issues related to his work (motivation and ethic), his inter-personal relationships and intimacy (family, friends and colleagues), and even his health (physical fitness and diet).
One of my favorite original quotes is, “You don’t have to be all that you hope to be, in order to be happy with who you are right now”. See, for some men, when things are not how he wants them to be, it’s forever on his mind. He thinks about it…
Multiple times throughout a day.
He tends to think about it more often as soon as he wakes up in the morning and right before he goes to bed at night when there are fewer external distractions. There’s an irritating little voice inside of him that rehearses the ways he hasn’t measured up or has yet to achieve the success he desires. For some men it’s coupled with poor self-image and thoughts of “you’re too short/tall/fat/unattractive/loud/etc”. This inevitably affects his interaction with others, especially those with whom he’s in an intimate relationship. Partly because he doesn’t feel deserving of attention or affection until this distorted perception of himself changes. Because of this, there are men who unintentionally sabotage otherwise healthy relationships with this poison of their own design.
So how do men escape from this perpetuating cycle of misery?
It takes a certain degree of transparency and a willingness to be vulnerable to someone else. It’s important that he find someone he trusts and with whom he can be completely honest. Through this type of accountability, these areas of self-deception can be addressed and resolved to the benefit of everyone he knows. Unfortunately, pride often interferes with this process and some men stay stuck in this place indefinitely. Thankfully, when a man is surrounded by people who genuinely love him in spite of his flaws (because they recognize that we all have them), the trust between them can defeat this pride and finally get him to the place where his internal perception will align with the external reality of being accepted for who he is right now.